Cyathea - Cyatheaceae

Cyathea humilis Hieron. var. humilis






Alsophila humilis (Hieron.) Pic.Serm. var. humilis
Alsophila holstii Hieron.
Cyathea stuhlmannii Hieron.
Alsophila stuhlmannii (Hieron.) R.M.Tryon
Cyathea opizii Domin
Cyathea ulugurensis Hieron.

Common name


Caudex absent or up to 2.5 m high and to 4 cm in diameter, with persitent old fronds. Stipe of mature plants 2–10 cm long, of young plants longer, light brown, not covered with warts or wartlike projections; basal scales glossy redbrown, to 10 x 1 mm, with dull fragile edges, apex with a short bristle. Lamina pinnate, 40–180 cm long, texture thin. Pinnae c. 40 pairs, at oblique angles, many lower ones gradually decrescent and closely placed, but those of young plants not decrescent, lowest 1.5–3 cm long; middle pinnae 3–5 cm apart, at slightly oblique angle; rachis abaxially glabrescent, adaxially bearing rather sparse light brown hairs 1 mm long; largest pinnae 12–15 x 2.5-3 cm, lobed to 1 mm or less from costa, basal lobes not free; lobes slightly oblique and slightly falcate, ± crenate at least distally; costules 4.5–6 mm apart; veins 7–9 pairs, well spaced, very slender, forked about one-third above their bases except distal ones. Scales and hairs: on lower surface of costae rather sparse thick hairs, most abundant distally, no such hairs on veins but abundant very short appressed hairs present, on upper surface a few thick hairs distally on costules only. Sori at forks of veins, rusty brown; indusia thin, quite covering the sorus to maturity or sometimes showing a small apical aperture, soon breaking and sometimes reduced to an uneven disc round the bases of the sori.



humilis: low-growing or dwarf.


Moist forest, often near streams.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania .

Growth form



  • Edwards, Peter J. (2005) Cyatheaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 3 - 4. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 63. As Alsophila humilis var. humilis.